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Opening remarks by Police Chief Superintendent at press conference

     Following are the opening remarks by the Chief Superintendent of Police Public Relations Branch, Mr Hui Chun-tak, at the press conference today (November 4).

     First of all, I would like to talk about the ongoing conflicts and offences arising from the illegal occupation of major roads. Hong Kong has all along been a law abiding and orderly society and the citizens have been proud of our low crime rate and good public order. Regrettably, we note a growing tendency of people not abiding by the law arising from the prolonged illegal occupation. There is a gradual erosion of our treasured value of the rule of law. The situation is worrying.

     In fact, there are still daily occurrence of crimes and conflicts relating to the illegal occupation. Yesterday, in the illegally occupied area in Mong Kok near the junction of Nathan Road and Argyle Street, individuals attempting to remove the obstacles confronted with the illegal occupiers. Someone had attempted to set fire on a paper figure with a lighter. The situation turned chaotic with physical confrontations. After enquiry at the scene, Police arrested a 31-year-old man for the offence of 'common assault'.

     Last night, near the same location in Mong Kok, a confrontation between two disputing parties attracted a large crowd of onlookers. Police officers had to separate the parties and eventually arrested a 47-year-old male for 'common assault'. The above two cases are now being investigated by Mong Kok District Investigation Team.

     At about the same time last night, a 38-year-old man holding a folding knife was seen wandering on Legislative Council Road near the illegally occupied area in Admiralty. A member of the public reported that the same man had also threatened him on October 29. Police responded to the scene and seized a five-inch long folding knife from the man. He was arrested for 'possession of offensive weapon' and 'criminal intimidation'. The Central Police District Investigation Team is currently investigating the case.

     I need to stress that the illegally occupied area in Mong Kok remains a high risk area. There are radical individuals, troublemakers and people holding polarised views. There are frequent disputes between supporters and opponents of the illegal occupation. The risk of confrontation keeps escalating as the illegal occupation drags on. I urge members of the public and students in particular to stay away from these areas. Parents should not bring their children to the illegally occupied area to avoid unnecessary injuries.

     I notice that confrontations in other areas of illegal occupation have become more frequent. I hope members of the public would not underestimate the risk in these areas. The risks of disputes and confrontations are on the rise. I urge people with different views to express their opinions in a peaceful and rational manner. Police will not tolerate any violence and will take resolute actions against anyone using violence.

     The second point is about the adverse impacts of the prolonged illegal occupation. I notice that different sectors of the society, including the transportation, tourism, retail and food industries, had a public meeting yesterday to express their grievances about the prolonged illegal occupation. Coach drivers, tram drivers and salespersons spoke about how the illegal road occupation had substantially affected their livelihoods.

     In fact, the illegal occupation and blockage of roads have created serious traffic congestions and even paralysed the traffic flow in many areas. They have also adversely affected the daily life of the public, the income of drivers and business of small shops. No doubt, the illegal occupation has harmed the overall interests of the society, undermined the rule of law and stirred up resentment and grievances.

     In the past month, different sectors of the community, including Government officials, Vice Chancellors, religious leaders, doctors, lawyers, retired judge and academia have issued appeals to persuade the illegal occupiers to respect the rule of law and leave the occupied areas promptly. Regrettably, all these efforts were in vain. However, Police will continue to deploy negotiators and Police Community Relations Officers to persuade protesters to remove the obstacles and clear the roads, which would allow the restoration of public order and resumption of the normal daily life of the public.

     The third point is about respecting the rule of law. Police have all along emphasised the importance of the rule of law, which is the cornerstone of the success of Hong Kong. I would like to remind the public that the Interim Injunction Orders on the illegal occupation of roads in Mong Kok and the blockage of access to CITIC Tower in Admiralty remain in force. I urge illegal road occupiers to respect the rule of law and to comply with the court orders to leave the occupied areas promptly. Police are committed to preserving public peace and public order. We will take resolute actions against people who obstruct those authorised to execute the Injunction Orders or radical individuals who charge at Police with violence.

     I stress that Police have the statutory duties to maintain law and order, to preserve public peace and ensure public safety. I urge protesters, students in particular, to stay away from radical individuals and troublemakers. Do not mix with these radicals in the crowd. Do not take part or be incited to take part in any act of violence and do not charge at Police. When Police are taking enforcement actions, do not put up resistance. Protesters should stay calm and maintain a safe distance from the officers. We do not want to see anyone, especially students, getting hurt when they place themselves close to radical individuals and troublemakers during confrontations.

     I would like to sum up today's messages. Firstly, members of the public should stay away from the illegally occupied areas, as there are still daily occurrence of conflicts and crimes. Mong Kok remains a high risk area. People with different views should express their opinions in a peaceful and rational manner.

     Secondly, the endless illegal occupation of roads has created significant adverse impacts on the daily life of our citizens. I urge the illegal road occupiers to remove the road obstacles and leave peacefully, so that the public can resume their normal life and public order restored.

     Thirdly, the illegal road occupiers should respect the rule of law and not to interfere with those authorised to execute the injunction orders. Students should not be incited by radical individuals to commit illegal acts and should not resort to the use of violence so as to avoid unnecessary injuries. Police will remain impartial and steadfast, and will continue to serve the public faithfully and diligently.

Ends/Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Issued at HKT 19:26


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